February is notoriously a busy month for me. I coach my high school forensics team (speech team) and February is the Regional/Sectional/State competitions. It means long hours coaching Monday-Friday, and VERY long competition hours Saturday. Sunday is my time to then catch up on all things from the week I may have set aside and try to get ready for the nex wave. For those people who have never heard of a speech team, or think there is no possible way that talking could be a state-sponsored and regulated sport, I encourage you to check out the IHSA Speech website. It will explain the 14 different events students compete in. These are all memorized 6-8 minute speeches that they spend months developing nuance in terms of content and delivery. We get up and on a bus by 5 am to deliver these speeches each week, and come home about 9 pm flat out exhausted. It’s a crazy ride, and we are at the penultimate competition weeks now. The kids were awesome yesterday with 5 event champions, and the team taking 2nd place overall.
What that means for me as the coach, though, is that dinner is not something I can contribute to. By the end of that 18 hour day, I am so beat, that I can barely keep my eyes open an hour after getting home. Luckily for me, Mitch was more than happy to help. Here is our Friday and Saturday rewind:
- Friday night: Work ends, Coaching ends, dinner’s done (thanks to Mitch). He made sausage and potatoes. It was warm, comforting, and miraculously sitting waiting when I was done at the gym. That night, we decided to hit up BREW in the Village for a couple drinks and laughs. BREW is this great spot in the Village of East Davenport. It features tasty sandwiches and salads, a great beer and wine list, and delicious coffee. Set in what appears to be an old barn or blacksmith shop from the village, the decor is comfortable with lots of wood accents, horseshoes and hearths, and cozy tables and chairs scattered around the room. When it is nice out, there is a huge patio space outside as well. The big windows overlook the park and Mississippi, making it just a great place to get comfortable and hang out with friends. I love craft beer, and if you like to try what’s new and seasonal out there, the ever-rotating beer list will be sure to please.
- Saturday Night: Speech ends, and I am home at 8:30 pm. I’m tired and simultaneously energized by the team’s success at Regionals. I come home to an Italian feast featuring a new recipe ready to serve. Mitch made everything listed below. He didn’t ask for help with steps, ingredients, timing or anything. I am so lucky to have someone willing to do this for me in my life. It’s the little things that really make a relationship; the little steps you are willing to take for one another and things you are willing to do. He certainly did not have to wait until 8:30 pm to eat dinner with me, let alone cook a three-part meal, but he did anyways. Even if he doesn’t know it (which I hope he does), that was one of the nicest parts of that day. Coming home, settling in for some relaxation and comfort food made with love: it doesn’t get much better than that.
- Sunday: Look for updates tomorrow about my Superbowl Snack gameday array!
Attached below is Mitch’s recipe for Italian at home. As per normal, this is one of those recipes which can have many substitutes (ie: turkey for beef or low fat vs full fat). This meal is awesome no matter which way you slice it. Bon appetite!
Spaghetti and Special Meatballs
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 more tablespoons olive oil (yes, keep it separate)
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 1 cup water
- Pasta, cooked according to package instructions
- Warm bread to serve on the side
- Saute onions over medium heat in 1st olive oil about 5 minutes (or until translucent). Stir in the garlic, turn off heat, and transfer mixture to large bowl.
- Add beef, cheese, parsley, egg, salt, pepper, cayenne, and mix until almost all the way combined with the onion mix. Add the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.
- Roll meatballs into to two tablespoon size balls. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet from the onions over medium heat, and brown the meatballs on all sides. Remove excess oil from the pan as the meatballs cook. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Add the sauce and water to the pan, stir, and cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta and bread.
- Combine and serve. These will be luscious, light, flavorful meatballs you won’t be able to get enough of!